An open letter to Monmouth College

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This letter is intended to raise awareness at Monmouth College that Macalester students are concerned over the recent events that have taken place. It is being printed in The Mac Weekly to keep the Macalester community informed as to how some students have chosen to respond.To Whom It May Concern:

We are writing on behalf of a group of concerned Macalester students. It has come to our attention that at a recent water polo match between Macalester and Monmouth, members of your college’s team may have used racist and homophobic gestures and slurs against two members of Macalester’s team. These acts were not only deployed as a means to offend these individuals but also as a tactic to disrupt the spirit of competition.

Despite the efforts of one of the recipients of this harassment to respectfully ask that the Monmouth player stop, this member of Monmouth’s team persisted in employing racist behavior even after it was evident his actions offended and angered the Macalester player. As human beings, students, and peers of these players, we are also greatly offended by these actions which disrupt the level of respect and tolerance expected on our campus and in our lives.

We hope and understand that these events are neither indicative of Monmouth’s student body at large nor of Monmouth College as an institution. We must not, however, idly accept these events as just another case of intimidation or poor sportsmanship, though they certainly demonstrate both. Verbal acts of oppression such as these leave lasting impressions on both their victims and their spectators. In light of this, we hope that immediate and appropriate action is taken by the administration of Monmouth to address this unfortunate and unwarranted attack on the identities of the Macalester players.

Use of such oppressive acts cannot be simply dealt with by disciplinary action. Racist and homophobic sentiments are not best addressed by executing traditional “punishment” such as suspension. We encourage a response that goes beyond informing them that they have done something wrong and must suffer the due consequences. As students and scholars, we believe a deeper dialogue must take place between the offenders and those at Monmouth who can help them understand the hate and power dynamics entrenched in their words and actions. Education, as a tool for change, must be emphasized and utilized in instances such as these.

Thus, we urge you to use the resources available to you to start a dialogue about race and sexuality on your campus. We hope that the offenders can understand the impact their words and actions have had in the Macalester community and find the courage to issue a sincere formal apology to both the players and student body of Macalester.

Thank you for considering our opinions and ideas in resolving this issue.

Oliver Cano ’10
Elyse V. Dempsey ’10
Eboni Dunbar ’09
Linda Nguyen ’10
Amber Riley ’09
Gabriela Santiago ’11
Kyera Singleton ’11
Callie Thuma ’10
Sarah Mercado ’10